Against all the odds
White-coloured vehicles are less likely to crash in all types of light conditions, reports PAUL GOVER.
FIRE engines used to be red. It was considered the safest colour on the road, and the most visible, but that was in the early days of motoring, when almost everything else on the road was painted black.
These days, fire engines are splashed with bright fluoro yellow after a European study showed it was the most visible ( i.e safest) colour on the road.
But no-one buys fluoro yellow cars and the results of an Australian study into the crash ranking of car colours is the best pointer to the ideal choice for a safe buy.
It is no surprise that white rates safest. Or that black is the least safe.
But the difference between them is a 12 per cent higher chance of being involved in a crash, according to findings of the Monash University Accident Research Centre.
Grey cars also are a crash risk, 11 per cent worse than white, ahead of silver at 10 per cent, then blue and red at 7 per cent.
The research was backed by the RACV, VicRoads and the TAC and was commissioned after concerns about the findings of a program in the US.
The difference is that the MUARC research tapped into the existing database of real-world crashes involving death and injuries, making it arguably the best and most comprehensive study of its type.
“Previous international studies have examined vehicle visibility and colour, but have not fully taken into account other factors that may have an impact on crash risk, such as driver demographics,” lead researcher Stuart Newstead said.
Research shows white-coloured vehicles have the lowest crash risk in all types of light conditions.
“Car colour was found to have less influence on crash risk in dark driving conditions,” he said.
Black Commodore ute owner Nikki Hammon said the research results wouldn’t affect her love of her current car or persuade her to get another colour with her next car.
“I chose black because it looks fantastic . . . any black car just looks great.
“It’s classy, it’s sleek, it’s sportier than other colours and has more presence on the road.”
And the next car she goes shopping for?
“Black,” she said. “Definitely black.”
Nikki Hammon deliberately chose a black-coloured car even though research shows it is the least safe colour.